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A Chinese Michelin star isn’t a European Michelin star: Restaurant Shisen Hanten by Chen Kentaro (1. January 2019)

| May 5, 2019 | 0 Comments

Given I had booked this trip to Singapore on a relatively short notice, I didn’t have much time to pre-organize restaurant bookings like I usually do and it kind of showed in the end. I went for the Shisen Hanten by Chen Kentaro which has 1 Michelin Star (previously two in 2016 and 2017) and took the larger “set menu” (138.00 SGD) which is reasonably priced.

The “appetizer of the day” consisted of jellyfish, duck, prawn and fried fish skin. Now, given I was at a Chinese restaurant I was expecting to eat ‘weird’ things (or at least uncommon to the European palate) and the fried fish skin was the first of that – not bad but uncommon.

The next course was a “bird’ nest soup with Alaskan crab meat and crab roes” which I liked and which was actually quite tasty. Quite a big portion too but definitely something worth enjoying and trying.

Not so much for the next course. Have you ever heard about an ‘abalone’? No? Me neither! And I did one mistake, I googled it before eating it and I shouldn’t have. If you know that an abalone is basically a huge ass sea snail, you will definitely not feel like eating it when it gets served. Well, shit happens I suppose and last but not least, it was time to try that “baby abalone, sea cucumber, and chicken wing with superior sauce”. Wonder what superior sauce is? Me too! It is definitely not ‘superior’ though.

Next in line was the “steamed sea perch with superior soya sauce”. While it was taste-wise nothing mind-blowing I liked the consistency of the fish and how it basically dissembled when you would just give it a small push with your fork.

The next course was good, definitely good – the “stir-fried beef with black bean sauce” was tasty but a comparatively small portion.

While it sounded incredibly promising, the “stir-fried lobster with chilli sauce” was just soaked in that sauce. And the sauce wasn’t even particularly good. So, yeah, sounds expensive and tasty but is actually quite a disappointment.

What I liked again – surprisingly I must admit as I’m not a big fan of tofu – was the “Chen’s Mapo doufu (stir-fried tofu in hot Szechwan pepper-flavored meat sauce served with Hokkaido rice)”. But again the portion was quite damn huge!

The last course of this meal, the “trio of dessert (mango, almond, mochi)” was also fine. The mochi wasn’t entirely to my liking but the mango was fine and the almond pudding was actually delicious.

When you sit down there are already three different kinds of sauces or ingredients you can, I assume, put with your food. However, nobody ever cared to explain what exactly those are.

The service was friendly and generally attentive but you can see that a Chinese restaurant is just not a Western restaurant. I mean, if you are in a restaurant with a Michelin Star I kind of expect you to bring new cutlery with each dish. Not because it is really super necessary but because it is just somehow part of the game – this doesn’t seem to be something ‘natural’ apparently.

The interior is nothing extravagant but is generally okay – an admittedly tall room but that’s it.

What was impeccable though was the refilling of the “Oolong Tea” (8.00 SGD) as well as the “Badoit, 0,75l” (12.00 SGD) and the wine. The “Piccini Collezione Oro, Chianti Riserva DOCG, Tuscany, 2014” (110.00 SGD) is though definitely not worth its money. I mean, you get the wine for CHF 10.00 in Switzerland, paying 110.00 SGD seems kind of over the top – and it doesn’t even taste like anything special. So, to sum it up – been there, done that. Not again.


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Contact Details:

Restaurant Shisen Hanten by Chen Kentaro

Level 35, Orchard Wing, Mandarin Orchard Singapore

333 Orchard Road

238867 Singapore (SG)

Tel.: +65 6831 6262

Homepage: http://www.shisenhanten.com.sg

About the Author:

I started the blog in October 2009, while living in Milan which I definitely consider to be one of the food capitals of the world. I was in touch with food since my early childhood (as my father is a former chef). Whenever I can, I travel the world to discover new places, to meet people but mostly to try local dishes and to find hidden gems! If you know a place worth going, please drop a line to: info@thediningexperience.org. Currently, I am a member of the following food-related associations: Chevalier @Chaîne des Rôtisseurs Zurich-Ville; Membre Gourmet Dégustateur @Ordre Mondial des Gourmets Dégustateurs [OMGD]; Gesellschafter @Goldener Fisch and Member @Slowfood Convivium Zurich City.
501.40 SGD (incl. tip) Filed in: Restaurants, Singapore (SG)

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